In the Government's spring budget of 2017, the Chancellor announced £300 million of extra funding for local authorities to provide discretionary relief to businesses facing increases in their business rate bills following the general revaluation.
The distribution of the central grant was based on the bill increases of properties given the criteria that their business rates bill increased by more than 12.5% following revaluation and their rateable value is less than £200k. The Government has placed a condition on their funding. This extra relief can only be offered to businesses that have seen their rates bills increase from April 2017 as a result of the revaluation.
We carried out a public consultations in Lewes district and Eastbourne Borough from 18 August to 8 October 2017. We published the Business Rate Revaluation Support Policies on the councils' websites which included the background, reasons for the proposals and details of the scheme design.
We provided an online survey which asked questions on the principles of the scheme. We made paper copies of the policy and survey questions available on request. We also offered this information in different languages and formats.
We publicised the consultation through local media by sending a press release which resulted in local press coverage (the Sussex Express). We alerted our consultation mailing list by sending an email alert on the day the consultation launched and a reminder message one week prior to the consultation closing. We also emailed the consultation information to all rate payers that we hold email addresses for. We promoted the consultation through our social media channels throughout the consultation period to encourage further participation. We also send the consultation information to partner organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses and the Chambers of Commerce with a request both to participate in the consultation and to share the consultation with their membership. Major preceptors were emailed a copy of the scheme and invited to make comments.